Donald Trump insisted that he really was against the Iraq War, saying during Monday night’s presidential debate that a Fox News personality could vouch for him.
“I had numerous conversations with Sean Hannity at Fox,” Trump said. “And he called me the other day, and I spoke to him about it. He said, ‘You were totally against the war.’ He was for the war.”
Hannity, a Trump booster and an informal adviser to the Trump campaign, claimed recently that Trump opposed the war in private conversations. (Policy positions are usually stated in public if a politician wants credit for having them.)
“Nobody wants to call him,” Trump complained Monday. “Nobody calls Sean Hannity.”
Trump has lied about his position on the Iraq for for the entirety of his presidential campaign, saying he opposed the 2003 invasion from the start. He didn’t.
In fact, as BuzzFeed has reported, Trump told Howard Stern in 2002 that he favored invading Iraq. “I wish the first time it was done correctly,” Trump said at the time, referring to the 1990 Gulf War.
Trump addressed his Stern interview on Monday.
“When I did an interview with Howard Stern, very likely first time anyone’s asked me that, I said, very likely ― he asked me that ― I said, very likely, ‘I don’t know, maybe, who knows,’ essentially.”
Though fact-checkers have frequently noted Trump’s Iraq dishonesty, TV interviewers have mostly failed to call him out on his bogus claim. On Monday night, debate moderator Lester Holt noted that that there is no record of Trump speaking against the Iraq War before it started. Trump has frequently said he came out strongly against the war in 2004.
“That’s good judgment,” Trump likes to say of his 2004 position, which was revealed in Esquire magazine more than a year after the war started. Trump said Monday his 2004 opposition to the war should count.
“They did an article in a major magazine shortly after the war started, I think in ‘04, but they did an article which had me totally against the war in Iraq,” Trump said. “And one of your compatriots said, you know, whether it was before or right after, Trump was definite.”